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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  May 10, 2012 6:00am-9:00am EDT

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>> these are some of the issues which i will touch on later. a healthy relationship i am describing is not greater from the risks of contagion. these risks are in danger of maturing with the fair balance of power between the press and politicians is distorted. for example, a politician had the ability to control the political content in newspapers, this would be the consequence of the fairer balance of power having shifted decisively to one
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side of the equation. such a press would be subservient, unable to hold political power to account and quite unrecognizable in fact from the press which has derived from this country since the second world war. that fairness is an vibrancy of our press is something of which we should be enormously proud and which we cannot take for granted. why the british press possesses these attributes is capable of being explained in a number of ways. let's agreed the reasons are historical and cultural. i put in a break here but i will not. model for others and cori is not about balance of power shifted in favor of the executive. it is properly concerned with the consequences of that balance, arguably having shifted in favor of the press, in particular the potential harm to the democratic process, and what some call the democratic deficit. the concentration of political influence in the hands of a few
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press has if it's true always a future of political life in this country since the mid-19th century. we have just heard from the current -- the fourth that would respect in the influence exerted by his great-grandfather, the first bicameral and the second and third decades of the last century, was probably much greater the year i will not do on aspects of his performance during the 1930s. lord beaverbrook became the first minister of information towards the end of the first world war, and minister of aircraft production and later ministry in the second. whether this was a manifestation of some sort of i'll scratch your back if you scratch mine, is not only of historical interest, if powerful newspaper moguls have always been a feature of the british political landscape, what then is the problem? put another way, is the problem and inevitable byproduct of the fact that the state is not only
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national newspapers, which we all agree would be undesirable, leaving political power free to follow the concentration of economic power. the heart of the problem is putting the matter at its lowest, the perception of the press is capable of influencing voter choice or public opinion on key issues of personalities. and the trade off for political support is the deliverance by governments and media policy which favor by act or omission by commercial interests of newspapers in general, or particular newspaper groups. or put more broadly, a spousal by governments of other policies which correspond with a world of political views of influential newspaper proprietors or editors whether or not there's personal views or the views of their readers. i use the noun perception because i suspect that it could never be proved that the press
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or political party has, in fact, influenced the outcome of an election. taking the example of the 1992 election, it is arguable that "the sun" support to the conservatives, more accurately hostility to the labour party, was cosseted of the result the it is also arguable that some support is reflective of public opinion which would have delivered the same result in any event. we will never know. however, mr. murdoch owens reaction to the headline quote the biggest politicking of my life, speaks volumes, and politicians still believe that newspapers are capable of making a difference. if they did not, why else would they go to such lessons? either his insights are such that anyone would want to hear them for no other reason, or it is envisioned he can deliver
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something which politicians want your mr. murdoch denied the charge that there were any expressed deals. his account when he's giving evidence in april suggested it was all a matter for the politicians, many of whom he criticized. because as many times that politicians want to support which is understandable, that he asks for no favors in return and received none. it is for you to decide on the evidence you have already heard and we will hear, whether any explicit request for favors was either made or offered. but the modus operandi sophisticated people is likely to be far more subtle. it is implausible that mr. murdoch would have asked baroness thatcher for expressed favors at that lunch at checkers on for the january, 1981. and mr. inglis no doubt carefully crafted memorandum indicates that no such request was made. nor would baroness thatcher have offered any regulation and
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favors either. and a memorandum shows that as well. however it is argued will that we're witnessing here the interplay between two extremely powerful individuals where messages are being transmitted by into finely tuned antennae and implied understandings reached. mr. murdoch invite himself to that lunch. baroness thatcher did not know what was on the agenda. he puts likely on the door and it sprung open. the initial talk was all about the new u.s. administration and that mr. murdoch described as the new right. mr. murdoch stressed that the problem lay with the prince unions, by implication of the power needed to be reduced. he and baroness thatcher were altogether on the same page. mr. murdoch used this opportunity get his messages across to the prime minister, in like manner as modern politicians so often hope the press will unveil them.
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by getting his message across, it is arguable that what he was doing was advertising his personal qualities to baroness thatcher. that is why face-to-face interaction mattered. instinctively he knew which buttons to press. on fourth of january 19 anyone mr. murdoch could not predict whether he would be given a rough or any right in the context of the fair trading act 1973. recognizing always that the decision-making would resign with the secretary of state for trade and industry. if he must've been able to surmise what the labour opposition, partly, that the labour opposition would oppose his acquisition of the title without a reference to the mmc, and i was at the very least a risk that the secretary of state would take the political line of least resistance. in other words, in the parlance of the 1980s, a wet rather than a dry approach but as it
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happened to documentary evidence showed that their meeting on 26 january 1981, mr. hinton told mr. murdoch that he was minded to refer the bid to the mmc. mr. murdoch stated he would not withdraw his bid if that happen. although everyone understood this would cause delay, uncertainty and problems with thompson. some might say that the direct threat to withdraw the bid might have backfired. later that afternoon, cabinet subcommittee the merits of referral to the mmc were discussed and it was concluded first that the statutory conditions were non-referrals were met. secondly, that there were no commercial or political advantages in favor of a referral. whether there were any private conversations between baroness thatcher and mr. bitner is both unknown and now a noble. they were not recorded if they had taken place. there is no direct evidence the prime minister gave secretary of state a nod and a wink to but for progressive purposes it may
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be that mr. murdoch new that if she were consulted, baroness thatcher fully understood and sympathized with his position, and that there was common ground between them. you may think that this vignette afford a illuminating insights into the subtle and sophisticated way in which press moguls and politicians operate. you may, on the other hand, come to the conclusion which i'm sure will be news international submission that this whole issue demonstrates the truth about mr. murdoch has been saying all along. namely, that he does not ask for favors and the politicians asked for none either. there was a further reason why, think about the events of january 1981. in particular the luncheon engagement. until the thatcher foundation released the relevant papers in march 2012, mr. murdoch had apparently no recollection of it whatsoever. at his evidence to you was he still does not appear to be honest, as he put it.
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have to question whether this is the elected amnesia. mr. murdoch told he did not enjoy frequent encounters with baroness thatcher. the acquisition of the time, and its associated title, must be one of the most important in his commercial life. this was a time of heightened emotion. could an intimate lunch at chequers would have been forgotten? human recollection is notoriously patchy and we unreliable. we all know that. the fact that i, for example, would be 100% certain i would be able to remove an event such as this occurring 30 some years ago, is not going to assist you in coming to a conclusion either way. if you accept mr. murdoch's evidence on this topic, the point goes to further. but if you do not, consequences are capable for being wide-ranging. not merely with a selective amnesia appeared to be convenient, but inferences might be drawn as to mr. murdoch true
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motives and intentions in sinking out prime minister's ear in january 1981. furthermore, the issue is capable of bearing on mr. murdoch integrity. looking more broadly now in the history of the last 30 years, the inferences to be drawn from it, the proposition that there is an implied trade off needs to be examined with care. the key to this may be well the observation that mr. murdoch likes to back the winning party. this enhances the mystique of you some sort of power or influence over the outcome. has perception regardless of his foundation is an immensely valuable asset serves to reduce the risk of the political party being -- while it is empower. political endorsement by a newspaper is a commodity of perceived value and the great reach of the paper the greatest value to be. but that value is compounded as a worse if the readership comprises significant numbers of floating voters. first, "the sun" has enjoyed an
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iconic state in this respect. and politicians will fly halfway around the world to win its endorsement. the fact that mr. murdoch arguably played hard to get in the run up to the 1997 election taking just one example, serves to reinforce the point. his opponents would say by the time he did say, he had won the maximum concession he was ever likely to in terms of policy. his supporters would say the cause and effect is unproven, and even to the extent the policy may have been modified to reflect the murdoch worldview. that is more likely to be in the politicians were appreciating for independent reasons that the viewpoint was sound and popular, rather than because politicians were acting responsibly to mr. murdoch's wishes. this is not to say that this or murdoch expressly asked for any such concessions. there is little or no direct evidence that he did, and so one is left speculating about
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private conversations which were never recorded or noted. it would not be safe to base any findings on such speculations. on the other hand, patterns of behavior may be revealing and so the argument runs, politicians would know where mr. murdoch stands on the big questions of the day, would also note will be in interest of his companies. all these things would be made obvious over the years, whether or not his so-called lieutenants would be communicating his views to those in power. the balance of power is on this narrative but dominant with a newspaper magnate. although that might wax and wane slightly over the course of an electoral cycle and be disrupted by major events. of course, if the newspaper magnate is powerful enough it might not matter if he backs the wrong horse. by their electoral cycles are short, and the party in power may already be looking ahead to the next election. those far i have examined the
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admission of mr. murdoch. news international with 35% of the newspaper market share as reported in the times on 25th april 201 2012 has the greatest potential influence. associated newspapers are scantly without importance of 22%. although their influence would appear to derive more from their being in that newspaper to the thinking of middle england, than their ability to impinge on floating both an opinion at election time. furthermore, in contrast crafted news international their influence is seen as operating not to the personnel of their editor, and any economic power wielded by their proprietor. i'm not excluding from account any influence flowing from other newspapers, nor am i suggesting that influence is directly proportional to market share. but those ugly to be a correlation. -- but there's likely to be a correlation. i refer an opening first of your module back in november to the
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alleged subterranean influence is operated by the press on the democratic process, but without full democratic announce ability to the issue of implied trade-offs has nothing to do with the sort of overt campaigning we might see in the times in relation to cycling safety or the "news of the world" in relation to law. instead we are in the realm of possible backscratching and unspoken reciprocation. with each side knowing that aspirations and that the expectations of the other. in terms of possible influence over media policy, the inquiry will no doubt be examining issues such as the enactment of section 12 of the human rights act 1998, the passage of the conditions act 2003, the fate of the amendments to such 55 state of protection act, and looking more broadly the failure of successive governments to tackle the issue of press regulation as well as the approach of
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successive governments questions of media ownership. there's also been suggested that the press in using the contact influence in covert lobbying to impact upon the course of wider government policy. here interesting it would appear to include matters such as criminal justice reform, immigration policy and european policy. related questions arise in relation to the press, intervening in ministers or shadow ministerial appointments, especially to law and order positions. there is an important theme which i wish to emphasize, because this is arguably a recurrent theme and one which interlocks with paragraph 1-d of the terms of reference. namely the extent to which there's been a failure to act on previous warnings around media misconduct. over the years we have seen commissions the response, the reaction to the death of
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princess diana, the response to operation, et cetera. and in each case where i referred to response or reaction, i'm also could be interpreted as referring to the lack of it. questions do arise to the underlying reasons for this. these might include a genuine disinclination to clip the wings of the press and by so doing harm or at least attenuate the power to hold the right people to account. as much as a more concerning lack of political will, to interfere with the powers and privileges of those are well able to do both laws and long-term damage. in all the various respects i've outlined it may be difficult to convert to rumor history and surmise into hardback. the in court has seen, for example, that the rumors put about by at least one political commentator, that mr. murdoch had some role in mr. gordon brown's decision not to call a snap election in october 2007, are unlikely to be true because
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the prime minister's decision was made before the former arrived in chequers that weekend. other aspects of the matter may be difficult to prove for this separate reason, the government may well have wanted to pursue policy x. or not to pursue policy why, for reasons associated with the wishes and objectives of media moguls. in relation to the last labour government policy on the euro, we know that the prime minister was more comfortable than was his chancellor of the exchequer, and that the latter set conditions which were unlikely ever to be fulfilled. he would say in the public interest. mr. murdoch's wishes may well have been wholly coincidentally that said, these -- the inquiry will need to address within the constraints of its terms of reference and the timescales imposed on it by the prime minister. the very least you may conclude as many have now accepted that not many governments get too close to news international but the human nature being as it is,
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a clear perception arises that the electoral support would receive its award. furthermore, the point has already been made that the reward may have been either its perception of the matter of reality that disinclination of governments to intervene in areas which they would otherwise have wished. particular attention is being directed in recent days to the coalition governments treatment of news corporation's bid to acquire the remaining publicly owned shares of bskyb. and in particular, the interchanges and exchanges between the conservative party in opposition and news corporation in the period leading up to the last election. in the interplay between the bitter and personalities in government, once the bid was launched in january, pardon me, june 2010. i'm surprised perhaps the one of 63 pages of e-mails comprising exhibit k. r. m. a t., have attracted close scrutiny both within this room and outside.
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the terms of reference of this input on not such as to require you to determine the immediate political career of the cultural secretary in the context of alleged breaches of the ministerial code or otherwise, you've made it crystal clear that you have no intention of doing so or in being drawn into the political debate. however, this inquiry is examining the proposition that the press or a section of the press has exercised excessive influence over government. and the government or individuals within it have permitted themselves to acquire an excessive degree to news international. i'm putting this in a slightly to a delivery round about way. i could us both be much blunter. the issue is whether a minister of the crown exercising a quasi judicial role may have failed to submit, he was too close to news
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international or news corporation, these two companies are interchangeable in this respect. having heard all the evidence you may conclude that there is nothing to support this proposition and that the quasi judicial function exercise entirely properly. if on the other and you were to conclude otherwise, there's a range of possible finding. the least satisfying is that an appearance of bias arises in relation to the special advisors dealings with news corporation's european head of public affairs. the most serious is that the nature of the relationship is such that the secretary of state prepared expressly to authorize a special adviser to conduct. what in effect where covert communications with a lobbyist, or put another way, provide a running commentary on the big giving assurances along the way that the bid would ultimately be successful. and in between these two poles there's a range of possible findings which would amount to attributions of intermediate
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severity. the real points here, and a point which needs to be examined, if to be rejected in due course, if that's what the evidence laid you come is that the bskyb bid is really a sample of an over cozy relationship giving rise to the appearance if not the fact of past favors being traded in. or the procession that future support may be provided. in setting out the issues in this way, i should be interpreted as expressing no view one way or another as to what evidence might lead. however, i'm it is right that i should echo the note of caution new sound on 26 of april. if the e-mails in krm 18 were direction indication between the culture secretary and mr. james murdoch, the case would be relatively clear-cut. but they are not. what we see, speaking
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metaphorically, is light reflected through to intermediate prisms. inevitably, perhaps we are not seeing white light, but many other colors of the rainbow. and addressing the issue of an over cozy relationship, one must of course recognize the politicians are entitled to be friendly with whomsoever they might choose. the issue here is where the line should be drawn. these are the principal issues arising from a language of paragraph 1-a other terms of reference. now, to subsidiary issues. the first concern treatment of politicians by or in the press as a means of influencing policy while seeking to determine their political career. politicians, it goes without saying, choose to place themselves under public scrutiny and we examined in the context of your first module many issues raised to protect their privacy and reputations while maintaining a public profile. i doubt we need to revisit these issues here. the issue is not politician as
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victim, but the press seeking to interfere with the democratic process by unfair and intrusive means. the second subsidiary issue concerned the whole topic of spam, which might be visualized as one facet or function of the relationship between the press and politicians. the former would say that spin leads to public disinformation and itself justifies the use of more robust or journalistic methods to strike at the truth. the latter would say the presentation is a legitimate response to the way in which the press are constantly many blame the truth to attain their story. spin is more passionate is no more or less the shifting balance of power between the governing classes in the fourth estate big reason why it is a subsidiary issue is because it does not inhabit the same sort of terrain as the issue which occupies center stage in this module, to which i've already
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outlined. additionally it is difficult to see what recommendations you might make to address it. this is a convenient moment to address the issue of recommendation. under paragraph two of part one other terms of reference you are required mixing up of the words to make recommendations, a., for a new more effective policy, and regulatory regime which, of course, the integrity and freedom of the press, the plurality of india, et cetera, b future concerns about media policy regulation, cross media ownership should be dealt with by all the relevant authorities including parliament, government et cetera. and c the future conduct of relations between politicians and the press. it may be convenient to take these in reverse order. any recommendations to future conduct of relations with the politicians and the press are highly unlikely to be enshrined in any form of general legislative change. when the prime minister said last july that relationship
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between politicians and the press needed to be reset, he's unlikely to have been thinking about a new law to do so. the very least he may be referring to the fact that this inquiry and the ongoing political process was itself lead to a culture shift amongst politicians so that they would no longer wish to tolerate any risk of being seen as too close to the press. in the context of paragraph to see other terms of reference, the principal focus you may think is the conduct of politicians rather than the value of the press. put bluntly if mr. murdoch pushes on a door and it springs open, then without more, pardon me, bless without more people know which might trouble this inquiry, pretty for him, one might say. as a politician, pardon me, as a businessman he is surely entitled to seek love and support of his you as much as it was but the fact that mr. murdoch often such as part of the doors principle with
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exertion of miniscule force, might involve issues under other subparagraphs, paragraph two other terms of reference. though the focus in this specific context is on a appropriate and ethical conduct by politicians, and in this regard it may be considered in due course, possible amendments to the ministerial code including in the area of where transparency. >> paragraph to be, fortunate the terms address are not so ambitious that you're required to rewrite competition law or the law regarding media plurality. as we saw in relation to the evidence of mr. james murdoch, the former is largely e.u.-based and the latter is domestic. but the substantive law is beyond the scope of this inquiry. what you are presented with is how concerned issue be addressed. it off, or any other regulation
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body with jurisdiction over these maters wishes to explore the current state of affairs in relation to bskyb or whatever, that would be entirely for them and out with the scope of your inquiry. what would be within scope, however, is whether understandable public concern is being adequately addressed i a system which permits decisions of this nature to be taken by ministers rather than by regulators free from the biases forged in the political arena, or less encumbered by them. the phrase, a minister getting out the quasi judicial function, sounds almost oxymoronic if the nature of that function is correctly understood in this context that the politician is expected to apply a fair, unbiased and disinterested mind to a topic which inevitably arises strongly self views either way. some might say that these problems are capable of being avoided only if decisions of the
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sort are removed from the bailiwick of ministers altogether. i've that overlooked the paragraph to be other terms of reference also requires you to address how future concerns of the media policy issue he addressed by relevant authorities. i see no difficulty regarding the role of independent regulars and the response that is in beta policy but much of that policy is determined by government. in order to address the concern that the new policy of government has been generated by an overly close relationship with news international, it might be argued that government should have no or less regard in this arena. having said this, it is difficult to see how constitutionally this could be served. the answer can only lie and greater transparency and accountability. under paragraph 2-a of terms of reference you are required, i paraphrase, to make recommendations for better policy and regulatory regime which supports amongst other things the plurality of the
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media. in this context the policy and regulatory regime being referred to is not a regime which places ofcom, but a regime which either increase or wholly replaces the existing system of so-called press regulation, namely the press complaints commission. thus the new our successive body as one of its aims should uphold the plurality of the media as much as the highest professional and ethical standards, also referred to in paragraph 2-a. it ought not be overly difficult to achieve his policy directive, since the public will find it easy to accept that you would not want to engineer state of affairs where but any regulatory system either impeded the independence of the press or jeopardize the plurality of the media. only a regular system would create that jeopardy and one may
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debate that would not be your intention. in opening the previous module i did indicate in general terms the identities of the witnesses the inquiry intended to call. while the names of some of our injured the public domain, beyond that i'm not provide any further intelligence. it would not be fair to do so. what i will say is the inquiry has done its best to sequence the evidence in an intelligible fashion. but ultimately it has had to defer on occasion to the availability and convenience of busy individuals. i conclude the short opening remarks by noting the advent similar of thinking underlying paragraph 90 of the witness statement to mr. rupert murdoch, and page 96 of mr. blair's memoir. first quote to mr. murdoch, as for the value to me of these meetings, my view is that if an editor or a publisher is invited
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or otherwise has an opportunity to meet with a head of government or political leader, you go. this is mr. blair. again now it seems obvious, the country's most powerful newspaper proprietor, his publications have been rancorous in opposition to the labour party, and invites us into the lions den. you go, don't you? >> thank you very much. all right. well, what we're going to do is go back, if it's possible now, to consider the position of the article in the independent on sunday. and we will call the evidence of this afternoon, that is mr. coulson, after 2:00.
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mr. mullen is in the building and is brought over. >> thank you. [inaudible conversations]
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>> [inaudible conversations]
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>> mr. mole, could you confirm for the inquiry your full name, please be? john nolan spent on the contents of your witness statement true and correct to the best of your knowledge and belief? >> they are indeed. >> have you provided a witness statement to the inquiry as noted asking questions about the circumstances in which the independent on sunday came to publish an article about mr. coulson on the sixth of may? you are the editor of the independent state on sunday, aren't you? >> that's correct spent and falls from holding the position that you are responsible for what the newspaper publishers, but in particular in this case is right, isn't it that you are personally in position to publish this story? >> that's correct.
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>> you tell it in your witness statement that you were a winner -- that you were unaware of the order of the chairman on the 26th of april of 2012, you tell us in paragraph 13 of your witness statement that the order has been served on the independent on sunday, at paragraph 16, you say, although we are fully aware of the orders which restrict the use of the witness statements, and then you assert you have always abided by them but in those circumstances, can i take you to the order, and perhaps we can have a copy on the screen, please. before i go into the details, can i be absolutely clear that there are no semantic misunderstandings, is it right then that you at all the material time knew about and
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were unaware of the content of the restriction order of? >> indeed. >> if we look at the preamble and the last of the paragraph which commences, agrees the chairman considering that it is conducive to the fulfillment of these terms of reference, and in the public interest, the witness statements provided to the inquiry should not be published before they're put into evidence either maker, the inquiry, or summarize into evidence by a member of the inquiry team, the case may be without the expressed mission of the chairman or a member of the inquiry team. you knew from that that it was part of the basis for the chairman's restriction order that he considered it in the public interest, that witness statements should not be used? and if we look now at paragraph
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one, which we, prior to its publication on the inquiry website, no witness statement provided to the inquiry, whether voluntary or under compulsion, nor any exhibit to any such statement, nor any other document provided to the inquiry as part of the evidence of the witness, not otherwise previously in the public domain shall be published or disclosed, whether in whole or in part outside the confidentiality circles comprising of the chairman, the inquiry team, the corporatist friends and their legal representative that is a provision that is drafted and very out white terms, wouldn't you agree? >> indeed. >> and you were again, fully aware of that? >> ya. >> paragraph two, you would have been aware that the order binds all persons, and you don't just do, to do you do it behind you? >> no, i don't dispute at all.
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>> paragraph three, any person including in the company, affected by this order may apply for it to be -- section 20 of the inquiry of 2005. so again, you were well aware at all your right to apply to the order of these areas, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> now, camera, to mr. coulson's witness statement. you tell us in paragraph 12 of your witness statement that late last thursday the independent on sunday, and you say it's vital to emphasize that you confer with shareholders privately, received mr. coulson statement to the inquiry. can i ask you first of all, you made clear in your statement that it didn't come to you from a core participant or a member of the inquiry team. did it come to you from someone
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who was within the confidentiality of the court? >> i'm not going to go any further than what i said in the statement now. >> can you help us, if not with the identity of the person concerned, then with the method by which the statement had been obtained? in particular, was this obtained through an intermediary come our was obtained by some form of substitution? >> some form of substitution, but beyond that i can't comment. >> you say no form of substitute on your part. was a subterfuge used by the person who opt into? >> no. -- who obtained it? >> no. your statement, the independent on statement received the statement, e-mail can indication
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this morning that you said that you were shown it, but have not retained a copy of is that correct? >> that's right. >> did you retain a copy or a transcript of any part of the witness statement? >> no, we did not. >> so is it your evidence that you were shown a copy which you red? >> it is. >> can we move now to why it was that you were prepared to read the statement at all, knowing of the restriction order? why did you reject? >> i think it's human nature when you're presented something like that you would read it. i think in retrospect, it would've been better had i not read that statement. >> because you are at pains to
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tell us in your witness statement that the subject of the article, which is shareholding by mr. coulson, was a matter on which you already had three sources? >> that's correct. >> but the effect of reading this statement was that you then had a fourth source comment didn't you? >> well, i wouldn't put it like that. how i put it sort of if i may, we always -- [inaudible] had we been a daily newspaper, we would've been perfectly able to have gone ahead and run exactly the same story that we published in the independent on sunday, last sunday, on the sunday before even receiving this state and. so the story stands absolutely on what we had wednesday eveni evening. >> mr. mullin, i'm not interested in hypotheticals. i'm interested in reality. on the was that on thursday that
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the fourth source of information. >> i did not regard as a fourth source of information. >> you are not deny, are you, that you read in the witness statement about mr. coulson's shareholding -- >> no. there were three sources to confirm the story. >> are uselessly trying to -- a signed statement by mr. coulson telling you about his shareholdings, if not for the confirmation of the matter? >> what i'm saying to you is we had the story on wednesday evening. [inaudible] >> because if you hadn't been interested in what mr. coulson said, then you would have wrote the statement and you just explained no journalist wouldn't read the statement in those circumstances. >> so when the time came for you to publish on the sunday, you
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had four sources. spin we didn't use the statement as a source. >> now, can i just explore very quickly the other three sources, and i'm not going to ask you to identify who they were. you say that you were shown a document by a source, which was not, you say, part of the witness statement. was this an exhibit of? >> no. >> and you say that you would to further sources in corroborated your first source. did they provide you with any documents? >> they did not. >> did they show you any document? >> they did not. >> now, when you came to make the decision to publish last sunday, knowing that you had the
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witness statement which contained mr. coulson's culmination of his shareholding, and knowing of the restriction order, and knowing of the provision to apply for a variation, why didn't you contact the inquiry team and say look, i've got this story by four sources, only one of them is the inquiry, which came to me last, i would like to apply permission? >> because my view, the story was, none of them relied on mr. coulson statement, and i believe that may have built -- [inaudible] >> and is it the of that is that you went ahead, regardless of a legally binding order and
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published material? >> i really, i really, really don't accept that. nothing appeared in our story, didn't come from three sources. spent let's put it the other way around, can we, mr. mullin? let's assume, with that semi-spends of this with the inquiry that you had seen the statement first and you picked up from the signed document a fact which was of real interest to you comment and you then had seen, well, that's very interesting. i can now go backwards and prove it. how am i going to prove the? i could ask this person. i could ask that person. i could ask the other person. and so you get three sources to back up the story. would you agree that that would be a breach of the order?
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[inaudible] >> but i think that that probably is a bit of your device spent it comes very difficult than, doesn't it? the problem then comes to me how i can unpick this. let me make it very clear. i am very anxious to ensure that the evidence that we're going to deal with is presented in an orderly fashion. >> i understand the. >> i have no problem about it being, i'm not trying to censor it as someone suggested it. i'm not trying to keep it secret. tonight -- >> i understand the. >> everyone will see it and it will be spoken about this afternoon. but the risk is that by doing what you have done, you have created a dialogue in the public with questions being asked and
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allegations being made, people having to respond before we've even heard it. that, do you see, is likely to disrupt the process that i am trying to advance? >> from my point of view, i'm an editor in newspaper. we may not be the world's greatest newspaper. in fact, we may not be the greatest newspaper in our own building, but we are on his genitals and we try to do our job the best as we can do. this is an issue of much public imports. in fact, -- the fact the input is going on should not stop us from going ahead. it was our misfortune that the good honest journalism we got the statement after we had already decided to do the story. >> hang on a minute. i might take issue with the words good honest. somebody has broken the confidentiality rule. somebody. they may not be the person -- >> hang on.
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we stood the story up before the statement. >> mr. mullin, you just said it through good honest journalism we got a fourth statement. but the statement came from somebody, and i'm never going to find out who, who fail to comply with the terms of the confidentiality agreement. now, that might itself be something that would be of interest to journalists who are doing the job, trying to explain what should happen and what shouldn't happen. now, i'm not saying the person and give it to you, it's not very difficult -- give us a summit who isn't in the confidential circle who gives it to you. so you never know the link. that's one of the problems that i can never unpick. i recognize that. but that is why it's important, and the concern i have is that
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knowing the effect of the order, and knowing the inevitable story that within the study generate, yet knowing that this is going to be the subject of evidence this afternoon, you published it. >> can i ask you a question? if i have three sources, if i can for them on wednesday evening, and never received the documents that you say we still could not publish our story? >> i'm not here to give you advice, mr. mullin actually. but let me postulate that you could have published the story, because you would not know what mr. coulson was going to say in his statement, and you would not know, you could honestly sit there and say, i simply didn't appreciate that this is going to come up. but by thursday night you knew
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exactly what was going to come up. >> we have used nothing from his statement in our story. nothing. spent well, we may not entirely agree about that. anyway. >> you inserted in your own statement, that the story was in the public interest and that's the matter in which he picked up paragraph 14 of you are witness statement, that you say that the independence of the sunday believe the story was in the public interest. we were feeling that downing street medication sheet at the time when news corp was bidding for bskyb it was bound to be a political issue, and was shared and so had a financial interest, what the government might decide. let's examine that. you were revealing something, to use your verb, that they were going to be made public and which you knew was going to be
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made public by an independent judge lead in cory in four days time, didn't you? >> yes. i take it that's true. >> and you knew from the restriction order that lord justice leveson had concluded that there was a public interest in the witness statements and its contents not being divulged -- >> we never use any other witness statements spent and there we will have to disagree. but isn't the position this? that there was, in fact, no public interest in reading something that was going to be revealed in inquiry proceedings four days later? >> can't i just set up little context here? the key question that we have followed from andy coulson going to conservative party officers and director of communicate and,
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is who knew what when? so who knew what went under andy coulson's involvement in phone hacking, whenever we got to the bottom of that. and as of november, long time back, six months ago, there was some issue of his financial settlement with news international in the aftermath of the clive goodman and glenn mulcaire convictions. and that clearly, if that's not an ongoing financial relationship, that is a matter of great significance in which the issue of who knew what when, and that is the key question, not getting the sharp end of the inquiry, demands to be answered. now, my job as an editor of a newspaper is to put in the public domain the key question that has to be answered in this
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affair. and that's the key question, that has to be answered as we go forward in this. and i think, putting that in the public mind before coulson gives evidence is perfect defense spin it misses the point, doesn't it, the answer, because you're right that the issue is it is a matter of public interest, that it's not in the public interest to publish it four days earlier, and to come out and they proper and orderly way in a public inquiry? >> i don't know how able, and the inquiry. i don't know how you conduct the inquiry. i can only speak to the people i headed. and we followed this story rob lee behind "the guardian" only for five years. it was quite important. >> that's nonsense as well, isn't it? because you knew full well that the inquiry was dean with a shareholding issue because it
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was in witness statements. >> but i didn't know how you're going to do with shareholder issue. the state was going to be published, did you? >> yeah. >> we can dance around the topic, mr. mullin. let me ask you this question, if you don't mind. do you understand why i might be concerned about this order of events? >> yes, fully understand that. of course i do. >> you see, it might be said that for you, the scoop was just too irresistible. would that be fair? >> no, i don't think so. i think if we had not been
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excited about it, we might've put on the front page. it's a very good story and it gets in the public mind the key question mr. coulson is going to have to give evidence. the key question has to be answered. who knew what when? >> you are right, perhaps you should look at the statement because then it would all have been very much easier. >> i agree with that. >> it might be taken as a message to everybody, that it wouldn't be sensible to look at any of these statements that you're using for purposes of the inquiry. if that message gets across, at least something will be achieved. >> you make something of an apology in paragraph 17 of your witness statement, in the light of -- would you like to repeat
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and possibly amplify that apology? >> certainly. i made a decision ahead of pressing the button and publications saturday, and i made that decision with fear, calculations. with hindsight, of course hindsight is a wonderful thing, and there certainly would have been school for me to at least some sort of -- but i wouldn't that to be taken as an acceptance that the decision i made in angst was entirely incorrect. and i do apologize for the trouble this is causing the inquiry, headed to apologize for the article. it wasn't our intention, and we
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are motivated only by trying to get to the bottom of this issue, as is the inquiry. >> all right. thank you. >> all right. thank you for coming, mr. mullin. thank you for responding to the notice when you did. i appreciate as i use the force of law to require you so you didn't have much choice, but i'm grateful -- [inaudible] >> i'm going to think about what you have said very, very carefully. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> right, 2:00.
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>> we are bringing you live coverage of the british investigation into phonak at celebrities and public figures. you just heard from the editor of the independent on sunday, john mullin, discussing his newspapers relationship with politician. prime minister cameron called for investigation to look into the relationship between the press and celebrities after the release, and the release after allegations of media phone hacking of celebrities and public figures. we are anticipating question of prime minister cameron's former communications director andy coulson as investigators seek more information about his relationship with politicians and what he was aware of phone hacking practices at the now defunct "news of the world" tabloid.
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about an hour long break year. we will continue with more live coverage at that point. testimony now from earlier today in this investigation. we will begin at the beginning. >> on sunday last, there was an article in the independent on sunday, which disclosed details which are, in fact, part of mr. coulson's witness statement. using the power vested in me under section 21 of the inquiries act, i have caused an inquiry to be made of the editor
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of the independent on sunday, and i anticipate that as a result he will be interposed at some stage during the course of today's evidence to deal with the issue. ..
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>> thank you very much for your statement and for the obvious care you've taken. your statement was taken the 3rd of may, you've signed it -- [inaudible] that doesn't matter. this is the evidence you'll contend that our inquiry received, is that right? >> yes, that is correct. >> you've been the executive chairman of daily mail and general trust since 1998 when your father, the third viscount, died. >> yes. >> you chair the main board of i'm going to call it dmgt. what, in general terms, are your responsibilities? >> i'm responsible for the oversight of the board board and corporate governance of the company and along with the
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executive, the strategic direction of the organization. >> thank you. and your long-term perspective is understood. >> yes. >> you also explain in paragraph six of your statement the pressures facing the newspaper industry are well known, but from the particular perspective of your company, what do you see those pressures to be? >> the pressures on the newspaper industry, on the regional newspaper industry have been primarily classified, has move today the internet, and within the national newspaper group a sort of increase in the amount of competition for advertising, if you like, with the emergence of the internet and the growth of online news services mean that circulation is harder to come by. >> yes. in terms of your flagship paper if i can describe it that way, "the daily mail," of course, it remains profitable, doesn't snit. >> yes, it does. >> do you have a view as to why
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that is? >> i think "the daily mail" has been built on very firm ground. it has a loyal readership base, it has a good place in the market. people are willing to pay a healthy amount of money for it in cover price, and that means that we are able to withstand the storm of economies better than others. >> you also explain in paragraph six that you're very proud of what's been achieved with mail online. what in particular gives you pride with relation to that publication in. >> i think, well, firstly, mail online has a global footprint. it is one of the most looked-at newspaper sites in the world and has grown to that level quite quickly and is growing faster than other, so i suspect it will become the number one site. it's built on a fundamental
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belief that i share within the company on trust in journalism as opposed to technology, and i think that that's what makes me proud. i think we've seen our organization be able to transfer its skills onto the online world. >> the thing with the mail online that i've done in comparing it with "the daily mail," some might say it has a greater interest in sevenly title tattle. would you feel that's fair or not? >> i would say one of the reasons "the daily mail" has been so successful is it has a broad section of news. we don't try and feed our readers stuff they don't want. and online you can measure stories that people want. and so -- and, also, you have an unlimited amount of space because, obviously, you're not limited by your press configuration.
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so if people want to read more celebrity stories online, then we provide it for them. but that's, i believe, not everything they read. i believe that they also -- michael clark gave evidence later which stated 90% of the people who go to mail online also read news stories, not just about celebrities. so it's a mixed bag. >> okay. well, i may come back to that at some point. you say in paragraph nine, lord, that you believe your personal role in achieving this mission has to be strategy as it were through your group of publications is to promote these principleswhich were built on my own personal and family values. >> yes. >> which aspects of those would you particularly draw to our attention? >> well, i think in my witness statement i talk about three things; pride in our production services.
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i think my family have always had a tremendous pride in the newspapers that our company produced and in the journalists that produced them. and that's something that i care very deeply about and which my pred she sordid -- predecessor did also. we also have a belief in the people who work for us, editors and entrepreneurs who support our business. believe in supporting them, helping them, but basically having faith and trust in them and that's, i think, a strong differentiator for us. and i also think that -- i'd like to think that our company has the courage to think innovatively and to try new be things and to go into new markets. and those are the sort of principles that lord northcliff and my great grandfather had when they started the company, and i fervently hope those are still the principles we have today. >> thank you. well, your statement deals with the various corporate
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structures, interlocking and overarching. we're going to take those as read, lord ruttermere. key come straight to page 42 which is our page 03297? >> yes, right. yes. >> the third line, the editors have complete editorial independence. and then i paraphrase, the editors are subject to the same corporate governance structure as everyone else. is that someone which comes from you, namely the conferring of complete editorial independence, or from someone else? because, if you wished, intrude, couldn't you? >> potentially, yes. i think, well, i was always brought up to believe that specialists should do their job, and it's the job of the proprietor to enable them to do
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that, to protect them, in fact. so i feel it's my job to protect the independence of editorial, that's my position, and that's where i get my authority from, my justification, if you like, for the job that i do. my father felt the same way, and i think my grandfather felt the same way also. i think that's what gives us value. and, -- >> maybe, lord or rothermere, you're not, if i may say so, particularly a political person. you were here in the house of lords, where it's fair to say that you are apolitical, or is that unfair? >> i would say i think it's very important for me in my role to not exhibit partisan political because i think it puts undue pressure on my editors to support the political view that they think i may have. i don't want to influence them, and i also think it's important for me to be available to people
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from all political parties to approach me be they feel that the paper's being unfair to them, if they seek redress. that's why i took that december. decision. >> in terms of some of the positions the paper might have taken over the years, have you ever felt personally uncomfortable? >> at times, inevitably, the paper will do things which makes one feel uncomfortable. and i think that it's at that point which really stretches the notion of everything i've said. but, you know, as i said, i let my editors edit and however uncomfortable it makes me feel, i believe they're the people who have the responsibility and, therefore, they should have the authority. >> i'm not going to come up with examples, it isn't going to help the discourse at all. in terms of what might give you discomfort, are we talking sometimes about political positions the paper might take
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or not? >> it may -- no, largely not on political grounds, no. it may be around friends of mine who have been attacked in the newspaper, people i have a high regard for who i think are being attacked in the newspaper, it may be, um, sensitive stories about people who i feel that may be, you know, i feel for, sort of an empathetic level. but i try and keep those feelings to myself. >> you said just a moment ago that it's important that all political parties feel able to approach me if they feel they're being treated unfairly. >> yes. >> maybe we're going to come back to that, but can i just pick up that answer for one moment and ask this: is that well known? in other words, do the major political parties know that if
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they feel the mail editorial line is treating them unfairly, they can come to you? >> um, sir, i don't know what they think. certainly, when i've had meetings with politicians, they have expressed, of all parties, have expressed unhappiness with some of the coverage in the newspaper. largely, i refer them back to paul, but if there is an instance which i feel justifies merit, then i may well bring that up with paul and say that, and recommend that he look into it and talk to that politician to seek out the truth. so if they say that we've run something which is blatantly untrue -- and that is proven -- i won't get involved on a level of opinion. but if someone comes to me and is says your newspaper has printed an untruth, it is categorically a mistake, then i
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will say to paul, this person has written to me or -- and it is normally a letter -- complaining about this, would you please look into it. he and the legal team look into it and either sort it out with the politician directly or report back to me and say there is no truth to it. sometimes people have a different -- >> yes. so it's just a system that's built up, it's not something that you made known. >> no. well, yes, it's not something i've made known. to be honest, i don't really invite it, you know? because i don't think that -- i don't wish to get into the position of having to constantly deal with this issue because, obviously, the newspaper is writing controversial things all the time. >> exactly why i asked you the question. >> yeah, yeah.
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>> you were talking in general terms, lord rothermere, about the nature of your concerns. as a fair-minded person, as i'm sure you are, there have been occasions when you feel the paper may have gone too far in terms of intrusiveness, in terms of the tone and substance sometimes, some of its material? is that it? >> well, sometimes we have breached, you know, or appeared to have breached and made apologies and, of course, those times i regret, those instances. >> in paragraph 44 of your statement, the fourth line, you referred to the reputation of your business. i've been asked to raise this specifically with you, lord rothermere, how do you measure reputation? >> well, it is a very good question. clearly, we wouldn't be having
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this inquiry if the reputation of the press wasn't under serious concern. and as, as a leading newspaper we have to take that onboard. however, ultimately the commercial reputation we have is with our readers and advertisers, and they continue to read our newspaper and continue to advertise in our newspaper, and i think you can see with the closure of "the news of the world" what happens when the reputation is so badly affected that advertisers and readers stop buying the product. >> well, that's the commercial endpoint of the process. you said we wouldn't be having this inquiry if reputation of the president weren't an automatic -- of the press weren't an automatic concern. do you think that those concerns which you're referring to are
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justified? >> well, i can see why people have concerns of the press. after all, it does appear to have quite a lot of power and some elements of our industry have not necessarily acted in the right way, apparently. so it is probably, you know, worthy of review. however, i feel pretty confident that our newspaper has acted ethically, and i'm willing to stand up for us. >> well, as you say in paragraph 44, you will, of course, discuss issues of concern with your editors, is so some of these concerns must have been drawn to your radar in terms of what your teat les are doing, is that correct? >> yes, sometimes. >> in paragraph 45 about
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two-thirds of the way through it, we're on page, now, 03298, we allow our editors to make editorial decisions without reference to commercial considerations. again, i've been asked to explore that with you, lord rothermere. what do you mean by commercial considerations in that sentence? >> commercial considerations would be, i suspect, advertisers. for example, sometimes they threaten to pull advertising if they don't like a particular line of stories or they feel they've been harshly treated. our editors are urged to pursue what they feel is the truth rather than to react to coercion. >> particularly with mail online where you are able to identify the motive of the site on a particular day. inevitably, you'll have an eye on what is or what appears to be
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most appealing to your readers, wouldn't you? >> yes. >> mr. murdoch expressed a view about mail online. let's just see what your reaction to it is, whether you agree with him. this was on the transcript day 65, page 83, line 10. he told us this: the mail online which is unrecognizable as part of "the daily mail," i think they don't have a computer. you do this, that just steals. they have their own gossip, they steal gossip from everybody. it's great sort of gothic site. or bad, whichever way you look at it, and be it comes right up to the barrier of what is fair use of other people's material. and i can't deliver that in the same way mr. murdoch did sitting in that seat, viscount, but is there any basis for what he
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said? >> >> certainly, mail online glories in the fact it isn't just a newspaper online. it's one of the reasons i think it's been so successful, it has taken all the advantages that the online world offer journalism, and it's able to take advantage of it ask build a better -- and build a better relationship with its users or readers. i think that our business is about journalism more than about newspapers, and mr. murdoch's, you know, entitled to his view. >> i think he was suggesting there that mail online pilfers material from other sites and other newspapers -- >> well -- >> is that the point he's making? >> honestly, i don't get involved in that level of executive control, and i know that martin clark gave a statement yesterday, so he's probably better able to answer that question than i am. >> then he said, and i paraphrase now, there's no profit in it. i think he's saying at the moment mail online makes no profit, but we'll come back to that. according to their public
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statements. he's, obviously, been studying you quite closely. and then he says, yet, their hope is to profit, profit motive, perhaps. i think that would include everybody. sure, it would. is the position that mail online will be entering into profit soon? >> we certainly hope so and, indeed, if we didn't reinvest so much of this current revenues in expanding it, then it would already be profitable. >> thank you. paragraph 46 now, lord rothermere. i think he gave evidence to us in january, mr. wright has moved on, and he's now the first editor emeritus in charge of standards for your newspapers. >> yes. >> could you explain, please, the general role in that capacity? >> to work -- he's to work with
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paul in overseeing the managing editors and to make sure that, um, appropriate ethical conduct and regulation is enforced throughout our organization. >> how's he supposed to do that? >> well, by working closely with the editor, by talking with the legal team, with the journalists, i -- by building an appropriate relationship. by going through the training, all our journalists are appropriately trained. basically, utilizing all his skills as a journalist of some note and huge experience in order to ferret out best practice. >> with the appointment of mr. wright to that post, um, anything to do with the issues which have arisen during this inquiry, or would you have done it anyway, do you think? >> no. i think that mr. wright, paul,
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felt that mr. wright should make way for a younger, newer editor. various reasons which i -- some personal which i don't wish to go into. but paul wanted to retain, you know, the great skills of the journalists to help him in navigating a path through appropriate conduct and ethical conduct. >> in the last sentence of paragraph 45, you say our newspapers do not have political allegiances but support government policies according to the assessments of their marriage. it's certainly fair to say "the daily mail" doesn't hold back from criticizing government. but in terms of its political allegiances, at general election time it usually makes its position clear, doesn't it? >> seemingly, yes. >> tends to support one particular party, doesn't it?
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>> um, i -- yeah. >> and the brand that's been described in all sorts of different ways, there's a piece in "the independent" no less that refers to the values of middle england. more or less sums it up, doesn't it? >> yeah. i mean, the newspaper -- a good editor reflects the views of his readership. and i would say that the area of concern that i would have is if paul suddenly went off on a wing and supported a political party which the readership did not believe in. i think, you know, a good editor has to reflect the views of its readership. not lead them but, you know, work in, if you like, collusion with the readers. >> but doesn't that involve a certain measure of leadership? to spot, to spot what is likely to work and then to take, as it
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were, the next step in some of the campaigns, presumably, have been very much led, and you would say very well led by the papers. isn't that fair? >> that is exactly fair, and that is what a great editor should do, he should have an affinity with what his readers care about and fight the cause that he believes they believe in. >> i think the point being made is it's not just a e -- reflection of what the readers want, it's what they might want. there's no sense of leading opinions in that way, would you agree? >> i think, yes, that it may not be necessarily leading opinion, it may be highlighting an opinion, it may be -- you know, editing is as much about what you focus on as o pod posed to what you -- oppose today what you don't focus on.
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take, for example, the mastic bag story where we had campaigned against the use of plastic bags in supermarkets. i don't know where that campaign originated or how paul got involved in it, but he certainly felt that his readers had an affinity for it even though many of them might have used plastic bags at supermarkets. does that answer your question? >> yes. i'm actually trying to work out where the balance lies you've made the position very clear in relation to your own position -- >> yeah. >> -- and you've identified where you see the exit fits. and i am just not sure just pursuing with the question asked whether it isn't part of the editor's job to identify what is
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next going to be the issue that truly effects those whom he understands read "the daily mail." >> i would agree with that. i think it's a fair ais accessment. assessment. >> in terms of assessing these matters, you defer to the judgment of mr. day, is that correct? >> of course, yes. >> and are these the subject of frequent discussion between you and him? >> not really. i don't -- he decides to launch a campaign. he doesn't feel the need to tell me about it. and nor do i feel he needs to. um, it's his job, and i let him get on with it. >> i'm sure that's right, lord rothermere, but are there occasions in which particular campaigns, nonetheless, are discussed between him and you?
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>> i can't remember one. the reason i brought up the plastic bag campaign is because he didn't tell anybody, and actually at the time we were polybagging quite a lot of copies of the sunday paper, and we had to change our supplier to a biodegradable polybag. so i think i might have said if you'd have begin us a bit of notice, we could have done that before you launched the campaign. [laughter] >> fair enough. now, your dealings or relations with politicians, you kindly provided us with a list, lord rother mere, which is exhibit lr1. and so we understand its prove nance, it's being compiled from from your personal diaries, is that correct? >> it's being compiled from my personal diaries and from
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finsbury who have been helping us with this area. >> you can't put this forward as necessarily 100% accurate, but you've done the best you can -- >> yes. >> -- to assist the inquiry with the materials you've got going back over ten years. >> that is correct. >> we look at the first page of the list which parts on the 11th of february, 2002, our page 03282. >> yes. >> without examining this in very fine detail, would you agree that the picture which might emerge or does emerge that until about 2008 you were seeing more government and liberal democrat politicians than conservative politicians? >> yes. i think that's about right. >> you saw mr. craig on at least
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three occasions. were you reasonably close to him? >> i've known nick clegg since he was an mep, and he helped us with some legislation in europe in the late 1990. i got to know him then, yes. >> general discussion, i mean, we've seen that under the subject matter of others' similar lists. that's presumably because you can't remember precisely what was discussed at this distance, would you agree? >> yes. >> the sort of things, though, which might be discussed, would you discuss the general political issues of the day? >> yes, generally. i would, they would -- politicians would like to talk about their general issues, and they like to talk about what they're trying to achieve, and it's very interesting to listen to them.
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>> do they ever discuss media-related policies? >> unless it's a formal meeting, in my experience they really don't like talking about special interests. so at a full meeting, for example, where you go to their -- there's public servants there and there's an agenda you want to discuss, but largely when it comes to personal engagements they talk about, you know, they try and impress you with what they're trying to do with the country, their vision for the country, and then they might complain about the fact that, you know, the paper's not supporting them. but they don't talk about the commercial interests of our newspapers. i think -- nor do i encourage them to, to be honest. >> in standing back from this, vis havecount, not suggesting tt you meet with politicians with great frequency, but what do you
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think is in it for them? why do they want to engage with you in this way at all? >> well, i think coming back to my, you know, comments earlier on on, i think honestly sometimes they feel the paper's been hard on them, and i think they try and implore, you know, on me to have some sort of influence. and i, you know, tell them that that's not going to be the case. but honestly, i would have to, i think you really should is -- ask them the question of why they want to meet with me. ultimately, i think that's what's going on. >> if they know the little point, i implore you, for your papers, to back off, why do they persist? is. >> i don't know. that's really a question for them. >> i mean, we've heard from one other proprietor, i think,
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frequent e-mails in the nature of text message exchanges between him and a politician. is that the sort of way you operate? >> no. i don't send text -- i mean, i sent two text messages, one to nick clegg the other to david cameron, and it was after the last public debate saying congratulations on a job well done, and that's the only text messages i can recall ever sending him. >> we know mr. day ca was personally quite close to mr. brown. did you have a view about that? >> i -- not really. i mean, i thought it was amusing, and i used to tease paul about it, but basically, he's entitled to have a reputation with whoever he wallets. i mean, a relationship with whoever he wants. so personally i like gordon very much, so i wasn't opposed to it. >> why did you think it was
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apoising? >> because paul has a view of the world which is, i suspect, quite different -- an economic view of the world which is quite different than gordon, but they share an affinity with one another which is surprising. >> okay. in 2008, though, and other commentators have remarked on this, there appears to have been a shift more back to the mail's natural habitat, namely the conservative party, and that's reflected the to some extent by your own engagements. would you agree with that? >> yes. >> why this? the mail is shifting back to the tories, why is that position in in -- why is that position?
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>> i think, well, it's in the nature of -- i don't, saying more torieses, perhaps finsbury was suggesting there was a chance they might win the election, so we needed to hear more about what they were going to do. there was this sort of formal relationships with meeting, shadow ministers the to find out what their commercial ideas were to familiarize ourselves with them on a commercial basis. and then, um, i suspect also that leaders of the opposition want to, you know, try and get in with media, high-ranking media individuals, and so they instigate more meetings. >> so is this fair, that you, like others, were beginning to ais access -- beginning to assess that the conservative party was likely to win the next
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election -- that was the 2010 election, of course -- or at least not win it, be the major force in parliament? >> i have to say that it did look like as though there was going to be some form of change, and it would be, it's important for a company to become adaptable to that. >> indeed. is there any sense, though, that you would want to be becoming closer to the likely winning party at the next election because that would safeguard or might safeguard as best it could the general commercial interest of your paper? >> well, obviously, it's important for us to have a good commercial relationship with all government so that they can listen to what we've got to say over various regulation. and i make no apology for that.
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it would be -- did we seek to familiarize themselves to get extra favors? no, we didn't, and there's no reason for us to have done that. there's no favors that we ought anyway. >> i'm not saying there was a discussion which amounted to an express quid pro quo in exchange of favors, but we know, for example, in if 2008 that you were still exploring the virtues of self-regulation of the press, weren't you? >> yes. >> and was that the topic, do you think, which you ever discussed with the poll he'ses we see -- politicians we see listed here, particularly in 2008 to 2010? >> i can't recall it. i can't be positive that i didn't either. >> do you think it's a topic that you're likely to have discussed? >> um, no, i don't think i'd have, you know, brought it up.
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the regulation of the press is only really become a big issue recently. until that time government was largely happy with the way the pcc was run, and that's certainly my understanding of it. and so there would have been no real reason to bring it up. >> well, it was an issue, wasn't it, in relation to the implementation of the amended data protection legislation. >> okay. well, if they did bring it up, they would have brought it up with paul and not me, and if they had brought it up with me, i would have said i wasn't really familiar on the details of that legislation, so -- >> in this period particularly if we look at 2009-2010, context of press regulation was the
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phone hacking issue ever discussed with governmentover opposition? -- government or opposition? >> no. >> we see from this list as well, i'm going to be coming back to this in a moment, and i'll put questions to you from another core participant. there was interest in this as well. page 03284 checkers on the 10th and 11th of july, 2010, do you see that, lord rothermere? >> yes. >> this, presumably, is a weekend, isn't it? >> it is. >> and the other person's presence is limited to the people we see there. there would, therefore, have been eight of you with you and your wife? >> jeremy and a fellow la joined
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us for sunday lunch along with michael green and miranda and luke taylor who are personal friends of david cameron were there overnight. >> so michael green, is he -- >> michael green, yeah, michael green was chief executive carlton, and i believe david cameron's former boss when he was working for carlton. >> he was there as well. so the, mr. hunt was there. so the conversation must have involved, um, at least from time to time media and newspaper issues, didn't it? >> the only conversation i had with any minister about media issues was when i, when jeremy hunt arrived, we talked a bit about local tv. jeremy was very passionate about his ideas for local tv and wanted us to be a core
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participant of that, and he talked to me briefly about that. but it was in passing, it was probably less than a few minute conversation. and that was the only thing that we discussed. [audio difficulty] >> by news corp. was announced on the 15th of june, 2010 -- >> yeah. >> this weekend of checkers, obviously, follows that. did you discuss the bid with any of mr. cameron or mr. hunt on that occasion? is. >> no, i did not. >> you're sure about that? >> i'm absolutely positive be. >> what, what was your personal position or your company's position in relation to that bid? >> at that time we didn't have a position. it was only later on when the
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claire enders report on the merger came out that our, that kevin beatty and paul started to take notice of quite how powerful the combination was going to be, and that took a while to settle in, and i think we only really started to wake up to the ramifications of the merger after the summer. >> lord rothermere, okay, news corp. had, arguably a controlling interest in any event, but they wanted the extra 61%. that must have, for someone in your business, immediately struck you when the bid was announced in june. and, i would suggest, cause you concern, isn't that true? >> well, it caused us concern, but we were under the impression that because news corp. already controlled bskyb there wasn't really going to be a material change. it was only after the report by
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claire enders pointed out what they could do which was extra to the current power they wielded that we started to become concerned. >> it really took that report to bring that point home to you, did it? >> the detail of it, yes, e -- i think it did. >> i'm also asked to pursue this with you. we can see in your list that after the checkers weekend in july, 2010, we move to the 25th of august, 2010. you had a meeting this time looks like a more formal meeting with mr. hunt, mr.-- [inaudible] >> yes. >> i think a minister in dcms, and i'll be corrected if i'm wrong. if he's not there, he's at -- [inaudible] and others. did you does the bskyb bid with mr. hunt or mr. say si on that occasion? >> i did not, no. >> by the time the alliance
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against the bid had colessed, you say -- coalesced, you say based on the expert evidence of claire enders and the legal assessment of it, did can you then discuss the bskyb bid with any politician? >> um, i can't recall having done so, no. >> without remembering as it were particular occasions looking at it generally, do you think you might have done? >> um, no. because i think that it was, obviously, a very contentious issue. it's unlikely that i would have, wouldn't have got an answer that i wanted anyway or, you know, the only answer that we were possibly wanting was that there were to be a fair review of the process.
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i didn't really see any politicians, um, during that time other than these two meetings. and i had a very, you know, full agenda during the meeting with ed crazy and jeremy hundred. and at ha time it was vince cable who was, basically, the american who had the -- the person who had the decision, and i didn't want see him at all. in fact, i don't think i've ever spoken to vince cable in my entire life. so -- and it's also not my job to go around particularly lobbying politicians on things like this. i mean, so -- >> politicians don't shrink from complaining to you about what "the mail" prints. can't the tables occasionally be turned around to this extent? your company has a, you might say, legitimate commercial interest. why not raise it as the opportunity arises?
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>> well, at checkers it was a friendly weekend. we were getting on. we didn't, you know, i didn't want to bring up business. it's sort of rude to do that if you're invited to someone's house even if it is the prime minister on a friendly basis. with jeremy and ed, we had a strict agenda, and so i didn't feel that it was appropriate to bring it up then either. also we had an alliance with other people, and can we thought the best use of our, you know, of our concern was expressed through that alliance as a group rather than individually. >> have you, if you look at the next page of your list, i want to bring this point out really for balance. and it's page 03285, and you look at the various meetings with politicians you had between the 22nd of september, 2010, the
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last one, the 19th of march, 2012, you can see that you have four dinners/social engagements with michael and be -- and sara gove, and with michael osborn. and they're both to be with news international. what, in general terms, is the nature of the discussions you have with these people? i'm not talking about social interaction, i'm talking about discussions about, which relate to political or media issues. could you assist us at all? >> largely talking about the economy, talking about, um, how to, you know -- what george's attitude was towards the economy, the crisis, the
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economy, you know, largely macro things like that. be and, um, if i had a conversation with him at all, it was just about those issues. and then with michael and sara it was normally about the importance of education. my company feels very strongly about education. in fact, the success at "the daily mail" was born out of the education act in the victorian times, and we feel it's very important that the quality of education and literacy in this country improve. so like mr. murdoch, i had ample opportunity to talk to him about that because we have an affinity about it. >> okay. there's one anecdote i'd like to put to you, and it does actually tie in with any item on your list. we're going back, now, to 2004. my source is a book called "the
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new machiavelli" by jonathan powell who was close to tony blair. and you've seen the relevant -- [inaudible] >> yes, thank you, you sent me a copy of it. >> yes. 205 and 206. so what mr. pyle says, if you'll comment on this, the other lesson we have learned in opposition was the importance of staying on the right side of the media moguls. the moguls have no problem with their papers attacking politicians, but they have an unwritten rule not to attack each other. and i'll come back to that point be, because it's a point of only slight interest. the mail broke this understanding by constantly referring to richard desmond, the owner of the express, as a pornographer. that's true, isn't it? >> that is true. >> he eventually hit back with stories about the perm lives of jonathan rothermere, the
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proprietor of "the mail." without going into what those stories were about, is that true? >> is it true that he attacked me? >> yes. >> yeah. but, i mean, he wasn't that offended by it. he seemed to think the fact that i had an illegitimate son was an area of concern. my children are very proud to to call him brother, so i don't make a secret, and, frankly, the idea that i'm offended by it is slightly offensive. >> that wasn't the purpose, was not to explore that. >> yeah. >> but i read on. when jonathan and his wife claudia came to dinner with tony and -- [inaudible] in april 2004, pausing there, there isn't a dinner on your list of the paper of 2004, but that may or may not matter. they complained bitterly about their treatment in the press. when claudia said i can't believe they print that stuff, tony said cherie was virtually
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speechless, is that true? >> i have no recollection of it. i think it's as fictitious as the date of the dinner. >> really? >> i do. >> the asked mildly, have you seen what they put in your paper about me? the rothermears laughed and said, oh, that was just a little fun. is that true or not? >> i have no reck election of it. i don't believe it's true. >> and as for the nonbe aggressions -- nonaggression pact, the evidence about this is somewhat vague and be anecdotal, but there may or may not have been a discussion back in 2001, i think, between mr. -- [inaudible] and mr. desmond. do you know anything about that in. >> yes, i do. >> what light, if any, can you throw on that? >> um, so if i shall tell the
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story as i remember it -- [inaudible] thought very strongly that richard desmond should not own the express newspapers, the government should have used a clause in order to stop him from doing it because of other business interests and sort of expressed that point of view forcibly to the newspaper. richard desmond responded by trying to dig up everything he possibly could on my family, my wife's family, you know, making things up about my parents which we largely took in surprise stride. however, by and large -- took in my stride. murdoch, however, took the view that, personally, he was very loyal to my father, and i think that the stuff that richard was printing about my father which was very untrue was very painful
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to him personally and, secondly, he felt that richard desmond was going to be the owner of a national newspaper. we had to work together in all sorts, in all forms of, you know, and that this unhealthy, you know, antagonistic relationship was not in the interest of the readers and not in the interest of the industry. so he decided, i think at richard desmond's invitation, to accept a lunch to talk about this, to try and pour oil on troubled water, is so to speak. he asked me if i thought that was a good idea, and i thought i didn't think it would be a good idea, but he had a good commercial rationale for doing it, so he should go along and see what richard desmond had to say. he went to lunch at the howard hotel. they discussed various issues to do with the industry, and, you
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know, this mud slinging, i suspect, though i didn't actually get a full briefing from murdoch on what was said at lunch. on the way back from lunch, richard desmond announced publicly there'd been some form of truce. i asked murdoch about that, and can he said no truce had been created, and he just thought richard desmond was making trouble. and that is that really. >> but in all events, you say there wasn't a truce. if there was one, it didn't last very long anyway, did it? >> well, i don't believe there was a truce, and i think that the proof is in the pudding, so to speak. you know, the express continued to attack me, you know? so, um -- >> but this is a microcosm, i suppose, where it is the sort of privacy intrusion, harassment concerns which we were touching on earlier.
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there isn't really a public interest in talking about you in this way, is there? >> um, i hi if he had -- i think if he had found something genuinely shocking about me, then he had every right to publish it. he still does, you know? >> no, but what he did publish, there was no public interest in publishing, was there? or do you think there was? >> i don't personally, no. i don't think so, no. >> but i think all i'm gently trying to say is this is an example of the sort of concern which arises more widely in the context of the culture, practices and ethics of the press. would you agree with that or not? >> um, sorry, i don't understand. could you explain? >> the point is, if there's a risk that newspapers may use the power of their position without there being a public interest justification to have a go at,
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invade the privacy of people for reasons which may be good to them which don't really stand up, that's the point. >> i see. there's, obviously, a danger of it, yes. it is not, um, a conduct that we condone in our, in our company. and, um, indeed, um, paul's decision to attack richard desmond's issue at the express is an example of that. he thought it was, you know, he thought the government had acted wrongly, and he thought it was not in the public interest. richard desmond and the express, and he thought it was in the public interest to parish those stories. -- publish those stories. i think that if we have a free press, there will always be a danger that some people will try and abuse that power. but, um, i don't know -- i mean, that is something i believe that
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you're struggling with. certainly, i do not try and do that. i try and, i'm very mindful and respectful of the power that my newspaper has and i have, and i respect our readers, i respect their right to know the truth, and if i thought my editor-in-chief was using those tactics, then i would be very unhappy. >> lord rothermere, you were asked to address the coverage of the mccann story, paragraph 51 of your statement, page 03299. in the same paragraph 52, you have great sympathy for the doctors mccann and the terrible ordeal they continue to face -- [inaudible] from time to time in the cover after o crime. our editorial systems are designed to minimize these
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risks. was your sympathy for the mccanns something that you felt when these, when this particular story or these stories were published back in 2008, or is it something you're looking back on now? >> as a parent, you would have to be inhuman not to feel teachly about what the mccanns went through -- deeply about what the mccanns went through. i'm no different than anybody else. >> be was your analysis then that we're not just talking about "the daily mail" now, we're talking more widely, that part of the problem may be rooted in two great tastes for sensationalism -- [inaudible] and intrusion, another fan messation of it -- manifestation of it? >> i'm sorry? >> looking at the mccann case as an example, was your analysis back in 2008 that part of the root of the problem was an unhealthy taste in
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sensationalism, prudence and intrusion? >> i'm sorry, part of what problem? >> the problem which we see exemplified by the, by the stream of stories which were related to the mccanns. >> the stories they disagreed with? >> well, the stories not really they disagreed with, which were, frankly, incorrect. >> okay. firstly, it is, obviously, a very big story because of the, um, nature of it. the mccanns encouraged publicity in order -- for very good reason, and then there was, i believe, um, the problems of the jurisdiction. portugal created briefings by police officers. i think our journalists were unfamiliar with the way that
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which the portuguese media and police operate, and a number of allegations were made that were followed up in our newspapers which we regret and which we when the mccanns complained about, we immediately rectified and gave them compensation. um, it's, a regretful -- regrettable occurrence, and -- but it is the nature of sometimes of journalism to do that. >> that's as far as i can -- >> but not willfully. i don't believe, sorry, i don't believe our newspaper set out to willfully upset the mccanns. i think they were reporting on briefings which they had which they believed at that time to be true. and when they realized that they'd made a mistake, they rectified it.
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>> a portion of testimony from earlier today in the british investigation into phone hacking. we will join live coverage in just a moment. judge byron leveson will hear from prime minister david cameron's former communications director, andy coulson, as investigators seek more information about his relationship with politicians and whether he was aware of phone hacking practices at the "the news of the world tabloids, "which is out of business. you should know that our coverage here on c-span2 will end at 9:30 eastern for our committed live coverage of the u.s. senate. you'll be able to continue watching the phone hacking investigation online at which is, also, where you can find all our coverage of the investigation. look in the c-span video library. prime minister david


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